Professional boxers, like all high-performance athletes, are, indeed, rare people. In fact, even among athletes, boxers exhibit a rare mentality: theirs is the only sport where the object is to try to so severely hurt your opponent that he cannot or will not continue the contest. Better still if the boxer can knock out his opponent, render him unconscious, give him a temporary brain trauma.... It takes a rare mentality to want to to do that to someone else and a rare mentality to endure the possibility of experiencing it oneself. It goes without saying that boxing is a violent sport. That is a trite observation. Boxing is something more profound than that. It is a shockingly persistent will to violence, an homage to the darkness that drives us as human beings, done up as a cultural ritual.